Brief: Harvard adopts two-year moratorium on accepting transfer students

Harvard University will not accept transfer students for the next two academic years in an effort to ease a residential housing crunch, the university announced last week.

Although the transfer application deadline for this year — Feb. 15 — has already passed, Harvard will not enroll any new transfer students in 2008-’09 or 2009-’10. The university also plans to renovate its residential spaces in the coming years to further alleviate overcrowding, according to a statement released by the admissions office.

While Yale also faces housing limitations, the admissions office has no plans to revisit its transfer-student policy, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said last week.

“The number of transfer students is so small that it does not significantly affect campus housing,” Brenzel wrote in an e-mail. “We are not planning any changes in the program at this time.”

Yale admits about 30 transfer students each year out of a pool of around 800, with the goal of matriculating about 24, Brenzel said. For the 2007-’08 academic year, 28 out of 778 applicants were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 3.6 percent.

Harvard announced last spring that the university would accept half as many transfer student applicants for the current year as they had in previous years in order to make room for larger freshman classes. While 85 transfers were admitted for the 2006-’07 academic year, only 40 were admitted for this year, according to the Harvard Crimson. The hundreds of transfer applications for this fall will not be considered.

The future of Harvard’s transfer program following the 2009-’10 academic year has not yet been determined, Harvard spokesman Robert Mitchell said last week.

Harvard administrators underscored the importance of the residential experience in the announcement, noting that Harvard does not admit transfer students as non-residents.

“In important respects, undergraduate education at Harvard College is residential in character,” the statement read. “Students learn a great deal from the residential experience and contact with one another, complementing the experience of classrooms and laboratories.”

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